Yesterday was the first official day of Fall, although you may not have recognized this with the near 90 degree weather as Summer is still grasping onto our geography for a little bit longer. It’s inevitable though…Champaign County is going to be graced with chillier mornings, vibrant fall colors, and everything else Fall soon enough. Between sipping on Pumpkin Spice Lattes from Aroma Cafe, Cody sat down with Terri and asked her a few questions about the upcoming season and what Champaign County has to offer. Pull out the flannels, plan those orchard trips, and pencil in those festivals because Champaign County is most happening this time of year!
Q: Let’s get straight to it. What’s one of the hottest Fall attractions Champaign County has to offer?
When we think fall, one of the first things to pop into our minds is pumpkin. Everything is pumpkin flavored! Well, the pumpkin patch at Curtis Orchard is officially open so you can start decorating and baking for fall. You can spend a whole afternoon at Curtis Orchard, as they have so many wonderful activities for the whole family, whether it’s pony rides, the petting zoo, wagon rides, or an apple sling shot. They are famous for their apple donuts and award-winning apple cider and honey. Plan on eating some in the Flying Monkey Café.
Q: We’re an area fueled by agriculture. Is there anything agriculture related worth checking out for the public?
We’re starting to see farmers out in the field harvesting the corn, but there’s 10 acres in Rantoul that will stick around for a while. Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch has their massive, 10-acre corn maze ready for you to tackle. This year’s maze is an incredibly challenging steam engine! If you haven’t done this before, there are checkpoints throughout the maze to find. It’s a great fall afternoon activity with friends, but if you want to add in an extra layer of challenge, go to their flashlight maze after sunset.
Q: I grew up in Champaign County and I know the Fall colors are extraordinary here! Do you have a favorite place to take in all these colors, or maybe take a picture or two?
We are so lucky in our area to have colorful fall foliage. One of my favorite places to get a good view is from the Bell Carillion at Lake of the Woods. Climb up a few flights of stairs and get an incredible view of acres of trees with a range of colors. There are so many parks and forest preserves to check out this time of year. It’s a perfect time for a hike atAllerton or Homer Lake and catch some stunning views.
Q: Cooler temps bring out those who aren’t so fond of the East-Central Illinois Summers. Are there any noteworthy festivals coming up perfect for just about anyone?
There’s a few festivals to get us into fall starting with the new Flannel Fest happening tomorrow at Centennial Park! Champaign Park District will have lumberjacks on hand doing demonstrations of log rolling, axe throwing and speed carving, alongside a variety of games, arts & crafts, music and more for the whole family.
And in two weeks, the CU Oktoberfest returns to Downtown Champaign. This event benefits the Developmental Services Center and offers a lot of traditional German fun for everyone. From 3-6, there will be plenty of children’s activities and then adults can enjoy German beers and local beer while sporting their dirndl & lederhosen while dancing to the Polkaholics!
Q. University of Illinois is back in session. That means museums are in full swing. What’s going on in that scene?
Most area museums have new exhibits on display in the fall. Spurlock Museum just opened their Medieval Irish Masterpieces that showcase reproductions of early Irish metalwork art that were created for the Chicago World Fair. Krannert Art Museum will be reopening their galleries that underwent extensive renovation over the summer, so stay tuned for that opening celebration!
It’s easy to have an enjoyable Fall here in Champaign County. For all other details about what’s going on in the area check out the website, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram! Also…don’t forget the #CUinFall Instagram campaign will be underway starting October 1st! Snap those pics, use the hashtag, and post for a chance to win a prize which includes a signed copy of Larry Kanfer’s new “A Prairie State of Mind” book!